Book Review: When Noonday Ends by Carmen DeSousa

When Noonday Ends coverFor all of you Carmen DeSousa fans who have read Land of the Noonday Sun, you’ve already meet and fallen in love with one of the supporting characters, Tom Turner, the best friend of Chad Wilkinson. As you know, Tom was not left in a happy place.  Per fan request , Carmen wrote another novel, just for him, and the fans!

In Land of the Noonday Sun, readers we meet several secondary characters that leave you guessing as to ‘whodunit’.  The writing is so masterful that it’s hard to decide who’s the real bad guy. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, some plot twist pops up sending you in another direction, or the character you thought was the bad guy ends up being saving the day. In this case, that was Tom (okay, that was a mini spoiler, but believe me, there’s enough unmentioned characters to keep you guessing!). Saving the day left him with a broken heart and alone. Not to mention a memory that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Which brings us to When Noonday Ends, the second book in the Nantahala Series.

Tom Turner is an attorney just out of law school and in the process of getting his feet wet. He doesn’t have a long list of winning major cases under his belt, and quite frankly, would rather be doing something else than be an attorney. But as most of us have done in our lives, we follow the dreams our parents set before us and  look longingly at the job or dream that would make us happy. For Tom, it’s getting back to nature and doing the one thing he did as a college student in the summer: be a white water rafting guide at his best friend, Chad’s business, or better yet, hike the Appalachian Trail. Anything to get away from the memory that haunts him.

Who knew the opportunity to escape his life and find love with come with representing a beautiful woman who’s charged with attempted murder?

Weird, huh?

Once again, Carmen has written a story filled with colorful characters mixed with a beautiful back drop marred only by murder, mystery, longing, desperate decisions, and family secrets. If you love suspense, romance, and happy endings a character has to work for, pick up a copy today. You’ll be glad you did!

My rating: *****

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense

Heat Level: ***(Just enough to get the heart racing and stir your imagination!)

Violence: PG

*** SPOILER ALERT!!! If you haven’t read Land of the Noonday Sun, you may want to stop here, buy it, then come back. You have been warned! *insert evil laugh here… 🙂 ***

Prologue

Sitting at the rear of the courtroom, Tom Turner’s mind wandered. One person after another approached the judge, claiming their innocence. He hated doing this, but the law firm where he worked required all new attorneys to accept hardship cases. To get your feet wet, they’d said.

Like his father before him, he’d chosen a career as an attorney. And for once in his life, his parents were actually proud of him.

Still, most attorneys spent their days off golfing. He couldn’t stand golf, but he’d give anything to be kayaking right now. Often he thought of changing careers, as his best friend Chad had done. He had thrown away four years of medical school to manage an outdoor store he’d inherited from his parents. Tom had always thought that it had been a stupid decision, but now he wondered. His best friend was married to a beautiful woman, had a son, and could kayak every day if he wanted.

What Tom really wanted was to take a few months off from life and hike the Appalachian Trail. After the year he’d had, he needed some time away from life—all life. But then, his parents would be disappointed, and he’d miss his niece, Samantha. His sister had been one of the wildest women he’d ever known. But since she’d had Sam, she’d finally settled down and was trying to be a good mother. Being a single mother wasn’t easy, and Michelle needed him. If only to give her at least one night a week to unwind.

Tom threw his head back and closed his eyes. Just the smell of the courthouse was grating on him today. The oil they’d used on the old wooden floors was giving him a migraine.

“No contest, Your Honor.” A soft country voice roused him from his brooding.

Tom forced his eyes to focus on the woman standing in front of the judge. It couldn’t be. The smooth blond hair, that beautiful country voice. Brandy? He shook his head to clear it. Brandy was dead; he’d shot her more than a year ago.

####

Yep, you read that right, he killed someone!!! To find out what happened, read Land of the Noonday Sun. If you’d rather get straight to Tom,  buy When Noonday Ends.  But I tell you, both stories go hand in hand. Happy reading!!!

Now available in print and eBook formats:

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Amazon UK

3 Books

***For more information about When Noonday Ends, Land of the Noonday Sun, and other books bestselling books by Carmen DeSousa, visit her blog!***

New Release by Carmen DeSousa!

While Carmen does not write “Christian” books, she does share her characters’ Christian beliefs. Her characters are real people who come with real flaws; no perfect people allowed.

 She characterizes her stories as modern-day fairytales, as they are overflowing with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

Her first two novels, She Belongs to Me and Land of the Noonday Sun, have reached bestseller status right alongside Nicholas Sparks, J.D. Robb, and other great authors. Her third novel, Entangled Dreams, is now available.

All of her novels are standalones; however, she does link each of her stories with a little surprise. If you read out of order, you’ll never notice. But if you read in order, it’s fun.

Carmen loves talking about all things books, so please connect with her via one of the links below.

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Book Review: Unsuitable Men by Nia Forrester

unsuitable

Tracy knows that Brendan is perfect for her. But only for now.

She has a list there’s no escaping that he doesn’t meet the most important requirements on it. Still, there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with him-or whatever it is they call what they’re doing- especially if it helps maintain her well-ordered life and curb some of her more self-destructive habits. At least until she meets a man more suitable for a serious, long-term attachment.

But soon, as secrets and lies from her past are exposed, Tracy begins to question whether she can ever be the kind of woman Brendan deserves.

And making matters worse, she’s beginning to wish more than anything that she could.

Visit Nia’s website to read chapter one and learn more about her books.

Oh where to begin?

As a Romance writer, I’ve found that I prefer Women’s Fiction more than the Chick Lit side of things (I write Women’s Fiction as well). The reason is because I  prefer to go deep into a characters mindset and discover what motivates them to do the things they do. Why did they make that mistake? Why react this way when they should have reacted another? What past experiences have scared them to the point that the results factor heavily in the decisions they make today?

Unsuitable Men tackles these things.

The story follows Tracy, who  learns a friend whom she’s lot touch with, Brendan, is in a relationship which could turn serious. Knowing his thoughts about relationships, she  is eaten up with curiosity to know who this new woman is. When they last saw each other, she knew what her ideal man would be like, and Brendan isn’t it. He, on the other hand, has no interest in being caught up with a woman for the rest of his life.  And as all relationships go when two people  are attracted to one another like magnets, it’s impossible to avoid the connection…until one day it ends.

Tracy and Brendan have a bit of back story  in a previous novel based on their mutual friends, Riley and Shawn. (Commitment, which is on my TBR list!). After stealing her way back into Brendan’s life, she finds herself right back where she was before: wanting a serious relationship but knowing he is not the on for her…even if they have fun together, a lot. After spending more time together, more than either of them planned, she can’t help but realize Brendan could be the one except he’s attached to the music industry…a business she has no intention of getting involved in, especially after watching what her best friend, Riley, endured when she dated a rapper, turned husband, Shawn. Even though Brandon is no longer Shawn’s manager, he is still tied to that lifestyle. Despite her willingness to work around that, one thing still holds her back: the realization that as much as she expects to find the perfect man, she knows  her questionable past will leave him looking at her in disgust.

Brendan has his own issues to face. The decision to get into a relationship is a big deal for him. If he’s going to do it, he wants to do it right. A good girl, who’s supportive, and perfect is exactly what he needs. The woman he was seeing casually before Tracy popped back up in his life was just right. Tracy is the complete opposite. Yet, no matter how hard he tries, avoiding her willingly isn’t something he wants to do. Moving forward for more isn’t on his to-do list either.  When Tracy drops a bomb in his lap about her past, he thinks he’ll be able to chalk it up to the past and move on. But questions plague him, forcing him to second guess her actions, leaving him frustrated with even knowing her. Not to mention he finds himself strung out in a way he never wanted to be about a woman.

Where will they go from here?

What I liked the most about this story is that while both Tracy and Brendan had well-paying jobs and access to the  best things in life, they didn’t live their lives hanging out spending unbelievable sums of money just because. They dig into their roots, spent time at home, lounged in sweat pants, watched marathons of their favorite TV shows, cooked dinner, and are just real. When it’s time to step out they do, but never hide the fact they would rather be doing the simple things instead.

I also liked the fact Nia explored how past scars can lead to bad decisions that stay with us for years. The only way to over come those scars is to pull them out of the closet, seek help, and face them head on. By the end of the novel, not only have the characters evolved into newer people, they know that in order for their relationship to continue to progress, they must work for it. The ending is realistic and not sugar-coated in unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes happily ever after doesn’t have to end with a ring.

My Rating: 5 Stars-for creativity, heartfelt story telling, and delving into a world of flashy exteriors while keeping it real. I am anxiously looking forward to reading more of her work!

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, African-American  Romance

Heat Level: Hot! (Great bedroom scenes!)

Violence: None

 

 

 

Social Networking for Writers: Good, Bad, or Just a Waste of Time?

My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

t My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

Some people say good, other’s say a waste of time.  I believe it’s all in how you work it.

Nearly everyone one who has access to the internet has some type of social presence, be it Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, Linkedin, Instagram, Pintrest, and I am sure that’s just naming the most popular ones. My point is: readers are online. They chat about what they like and don’t like, what’s the latest trending topic, who’s got the hottest new book, and so on and so forth.

How can that benefit a writer?

No matter what type of new technology there is, nothing works as well as word of mouth. Well, think of social networking as the digital version of the age old form of publicity. The trick is how to use it.

I’ve read various blogs that say they feel it’s a waste: “All you do is try and sell your books to other authors, nobody is gonna buy because we’re all trying to get paid.”

True and false.

First of all, authors are readers, too, not just writers. We like to read a good book, discover an unknown talent, and be entertained. That’s why we write!

And yes, if you’re an unknown author, a majority of people you first connect with on social networking sites are other authors. Why? Because those authors have experience  – some more, some less than you – on how to connect with readers. Networking can teach you the ropes on navigating a new site, the best new advertising technique, where to find the best deals for self-publishing, or publishers who are looking for new material. Not to mention book signing events, (yes, even with eBook’s being the big thing, readers would still like to have their paperbacks and Kindle/Nook covers signed). But when connecting with these seasoned pros, don’t just go in for the help, talk to them, get to know  them, and yes, read their work, make an honest new friend. Support them and guess what…they will support you.Hold up, say what?????Yes, it’s true, other authors can and will help you! But don’t get it twisted, it’s a two-way street!

Networking with other authors is simple and not hard to do. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you asked to guest post/interview/feature on an author’s blog, be sure to give them the information requested in a timely manner, drop by the post to comment, and, if you have a blog, be willing to reciprocate the favor in the future. After all, when they have you on their site, it’s exposing your work to their followers/readers. You should be willing to do the same.
  • When you have a chance to read their work, do so! Talk to them (via private chat/emails) about what they did when writing, discuss writing techniques. You’ll be surprised by how much you have in common when writing. Also, you may learn a few things not only about the writer as a person, but  something that can help you become a better writer too!
  • There’s nothing wrong with shouting out a fellow author or posting a good review if you really enjoyed the story! Remember when your mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? The same goes here to. Remember, you want to support your fellow author and in turn, encourage them to do the same for you. Spreading negativity will not only turn them off, but others as well.
  • Remain a professional at ALL times. Your online presence is your digital business card.  Know when to comment on a post and when to keep your personal feelings to yourself. Don’t get caught up in negativity, political, or social issues unless it pertains to your work. Remember, your looking to establish a fan base. Fans follow authors they like wherever they can be found. Possible fans will read your post/comments, etc. and decide whether or not they want to connect with you. Also, other authors your looking to connect with may decide to avoid getting caught up in your drama, therefore cutting you out of the loop. Giving off a negative presence can ruin your writing career, no matter how long you’ve been in the game.

Above all, remember….there are millions of readers, and thousands of authors. Nobody can put out a book a week, so expecting to hog all the readers is very unrealistic. Readers want to be exposed to new writing styles, and stories. Remember, if you write a good story, they will love your work, but while they wait anxiously for your next book, they want to read something else. Expose them to an author you like and they will appreciate you more for it.

And it’s not just something an Indie Author can do….

Take a look at the back cover of your favorite NYT Bestselling Author. Other than the ever popular critique review, you’ll also find comments and shout outs from other NYT authors. Now that’s what you call having each other’s back!

MJ

Digital Music Production Class Held at the Clayton County Library

For the third year in a row, music producer, Ktek of 3D Studio and Sounds, conducted the How to Produce Musicworkshop. The class is free to the community, hosted through the Clayton County Library system, and held at the Headquarters location.
Ktek is a local produce with over eleven years in the music industry. His certifications include certified ProTools Operator and certified Audio Engineer. He enjoys taking time out of his busy schedule to share ‘Tek Tips’, as well as a few industry secrets  to those who are serious about taking their music production to a professional level.
Here are a few highlights from the evening.
With today’s technology, you don’t have to go into a major studio or know how to use expensive software in order to create a track. Music can be created with software on your Smartphone, an internet connection, and a Google+ account. The internet has evened the playing field. Anything you need, from knowledge on music production, to software can be found, for free. If your willing to put in the work, software, programs,  computers, and studio equipment, can all be found for reasonable prices.
Why?
Because many people have jumped in, looking to make large paychecks, and then realize the amount of work involved in order to build a name and produce a product. Discouraged, they often give up. As a result, they seek to recoup as much money as they can from buying new equipment and programs. Sites such as Craigslist, local newspapers, and pawnshops can be gold mines when it comes to acquiring affordable tools needed to get you started.
“Being able to express yourself is a way to deal with everyday problems. It’s a way to keep kids out of trouble. It’s something no one can take away from you. Money is not the only pay off available when making music.”
Digital Music Production is a hard career to master. You’re not only learning how to be a musician, you’re learning how to be a computer technician, how to format, change, compress, and un-compress digital packages whether it’s songs or lyrics. Music production is more than just making hot beats, anyone can do that. In order to be successful, you have to know how to market your music. There are more places for music placement than just record labels. Businesses, even within the community, are in need of music for commercials, and can become a valuable source of income. 
If music production is your goal, make sure you have a general knowledge of audio and sound. Knowing what sound is, how it acts, and how you can manipulate it are a key part of music production.

The basic building blocks in any track are rhythm and melody. Learning music theory is good, but once you know it, you can find ways to make it work to produce the music you want to make.

It is important to have a general knowledge of music and sound whether your making music for yourself or for the industry.

You don’t have to have the latest programs and tools in order to make music, no matter what the industry says.

Master your tools and software. It comes in many different forms, ranging in various prices. It doesn’t matter which one you prefer, ProTools, Reason, Fruity Loops, or any other product on the market, in the end, they all do the same thing.  Mastering the use of the software is key. Once mastered, you can make the software do what you need in order to produce high quality music. 

Afterwards, he shared a few of his tracks, demonstrating the correct technique to develop your own sound. To hear examples of Ktek’s music production, visit his Soundclick page. 
For those interested in learning more about Digital Music Production, Ktek offers one-on-one classes in music production and building your own studio on a budget. If interested, you can contact him through the following links:
3D Studio and Sounds can also be found at nearly every event at the Clayton County Headquarters Library involving live music and entertainment. This Saturday brought a representative of 3D Studio and Sounds back to the library to provide music as the back drop for the Adult Summer Reading Program “Between the Covers” Kick Off.  
Keep an eye on the calendar of events for the Clayton County Headquarters Library to find out when the next music production class will be held. 

MJ

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